Three Canadians: Business in Taiwan
Posted on Oct 10, 2012 / Author: Andrew de Silva / Tags: Global Economy, Education, Culture and Communities, business, Canadians Abroad, doing business in Taiwan, entrepreneurship
Three questions with filmmaker Andrew de Silva.
Why do you think it was important to tell the story of these three Canadians who have found success in Taiwan?
A lot of Canadians living in Canada may not be aware of the opportunities that exist in Asia. These three Canadians have been able to create their own opportunities in Taiwan in industries that have room for development. As mentioned in the video, the opportunities for two of the Canadians may not have existed for them back home. If one has an entrepreneurial outlook, then the business environment here can be quite appealing.
In your view, what are the biggest/most common obstacles for Canadians/foreigners to break into businesses like this?
Having a command of the language or at least having a local business partner will make some of the day- to-day challenges a lot easier to handle. It also goes a long way in creating relationships with people here and understanding the Taiwanese mindset. In order to have a feasible business, you have to go after the Taiwanese market. I think understanding what Taiwanese want and being able to tailor your product or service to their needs can be a challenge for some foreigners.
In your video you profile an indie music club owner, a Mexican restaurant owner and a videographer who focuses on advertising. In what other industries do you think that there are opportunities for foreigners to excel in Taiwan?
It’s difficult to be specific, but I will say that Taiwanese enjoy the experience of a product or service. Creating a brand that appeals to their senses and emotions is definitely important. I would also say that being on the ground and observing first- hand is crucial to seeing what may or may not work. Often the best ideas come from being here and seeing what kinds of products or services are available. Some of the details that Canadians may take for granted back home, don’t exist here. The smallest idea has the potential to be a success if executed well. Fortunately, in Taiwan, it’s easy to test the market without having to lay out a large investment, so you can start small and scale up your business as you grow.
This video was created in response to a NCA call out for short video proposals on the theme of “Why Asia matters to Canada.” Click to view the other videos, “Qiu Jin: Tracing Bridges Between Nanjing and Vancouver” and “Getting a Head Start: Early Mandarin Bilingual Programs in Vancouver.”
The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.